Police raid HCMC debt collectors for issuing threats

By Quoc Thang   March 16, 2023 | 02:08 am PT
Police raid HCMC debt collectors for issuing threats
Police raid THT Law Co. Ltd in Tan Binh District of Ho Chi Minh City, March 2023. Photo by police
Police arrested 14 employees at two companies in Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Binh District for threatening people who failed to pay overdue loans.

Those detained work for Vietnam Thinh Vuong Debt Trading JSC and THT Law Co. Ltd. They are now being investigated for "extortion."

The arrests came after the Ho Chi Minh City Police Department received a substantial number of reports from residents claiming that after they had failed to pay debts owed to creditors, they had been threatened and insulted by people who claimed to be "debt collection employees."

Employees from the companies in question allegedly called the borrowers on the phone and posted libelous and insulting photos and content about them on social media.

In some cases, debtors’ families, friends, and workplaces were harassed and threatened.

As evidence uncovered by police suggests, the two companies were hired to retrieve outstanding loans from "targets" given to them by superiors from other ministries. The staffers were also offered percentage-based commissions depending on the sum they were able to collect.

In early March, criminal police from the Ministry of Public Security joined forces with HCMC police to bust the head office of the two companies and seized from their computers, laptops, and smartphones data on the debtors, the amount of debt, and the process employed to collect on those debts.

Police said the two companies had obtained information about debtors from a financial firm based in Hanoi.

Nguyen Minh Thanh, manager at Vietnam Thinh Vuong Debt Trading JSC, said staff at the company were divided into four teams with seven-ten members each.

Every month, each staff member had to make an average of 2,500-3,000 phone calls to harass debtors, and usually, each collected VND2-3 billion (US$84,516-126,775) of debt per month.

Tran Ha Anh Thu, head of the Credit Department at THT Law Co. Ltd, said she and other staff at the company were in charge of dealing with debtors who had been insulted and threatened but still did not pay the debt.

She and her team then reached out to debtors’ families and workplaces to issue threats.

Police said the finance company based in Hanoi paid an interest rate of up to 86% for each debt collected, creating a strong motivation for those staff to work hard.

They also said this is a form of abuse and harassment.

Vietnamese police have launched a series of raids against debt collection firms that resorted to abuse and threats in recent weeks. Dozens of people from multiple firms have been arrested.

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